With one full split under his belt, Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme is ready to improve on any and all mistakes from his first full foray into the LCS. His former bot lane partner, Chae "Piglet" Gwang-jin left the team at the beginning of the Summer Split. Taking his place is former AD Carry for Immortals and 100 Thieves, Cody "Cody Sun" Sun, who played for Clutch Gaming Academy this spring.
After Clutch Gaming's match against Team Liquid in Week 4, Vulcan spoke with Inven Global about what he improved going into the Summer Split, working with Cody Sun, and what he thinks is leading to the team's success this split.
You now have one full split under your belt. What did you learn from the Spring Split and carried it onto the Summer Split?
I'm just getting more used to the stage. Like how most of the time on stage, if you go for the play first — like if you just go for something — most of the time it'll go off for you since the other team is playing a little scared or maybe they're not expecting you to play as fast. I think you can make the winning play and then just win the game. A lot of confidence and getting used to setups is what I learned into the Summer.
A lot of new players that come into the league have so much nerves. Did that affect how you played during Spring?
In the first two games that I played back in the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split, I felt really nervous. I think I was not really well prepared for that. I kind of got thrown into a boom team; it was a pretty poor situation. I had like one week of scrimming but only half the time. I think I was not well prepared, hence the nerves.
Last split, I was still nervous. I think I will always be a bit nervous going on stage because every game is really important to me. I just don't want to mess up. I think I will always have nerves but I'm learning how to play with it and not let it affect my play.
Does anyone help you get mentally ready on stage?
I mean our coach makes speeches before the game for the entire team.
What was the most inspiring speech he's made so far?
Honestly, I just cruise through them. It's hard to remember since it is just in the moment. There's nothing specific that comes to mind right now.
You've played with former World Champion Piglet for the majority of your career. What things have you learned from him?
I learned a lot of mechanic and laning things from Piglet. He thinks laning is really important because that's one of his main strengths is his mechanical talent. Also, he helped familiarize me with all the necessary timings, like recall timings to avoid any junglers.
Piglet is pretty good at macro as well but he's not that much of a leader. He doesn't share as much but when he says something, I know that's the right thing to do because he has a lot of experience. He won't talk much but when he does, you should definitely follow it. I definitely learned more about macro from him.
Was there one key advice that you kept to this day?
If we all-in next to our tower, it's better than when we're all in the middle of the lane because we have more time to chase them. It's simple, but I never really thought about it before Piglet pointed that out to me.
Coming into the Summer Split, you're playing with a new ADC, Cody Sun. How was the transition playing from Piglet to Cody Sun?
I think the transition was pretty smooth. Cody talks a lot more than Piglet does. It's easier to let him know what I want to do. He also lets me know what he wants to do so it's easier to be on the same page.
I think we have a similar playstyle where we just play for the team. We don't require everyone on our team to walk bot lane and help us get the tower. We want to do whatever we need to do. I guess you could say we're role players.
How would you best describe Cody Sun as a player?
I want to say he plays safe, but he does go go crazy sometimes. For the most part, he wants to play the macro game slowly and methodically. He doesn't like to go for crazy dives. Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon is a pretty crazy player and he wants to do crazy stuff if there's a window of opportunity at any point in the Top Lane , but Cody is the opposite.
Would you say your experience playing with Piglet made it easier to play with Cody Sun?
I would say yes in a way. My laning would not be as good if I didn't play with Piglet.
What did you work on during the break from Spring to Summer Split?
Cody has a lot of 2v2 terms that I didn't know about. 'Tethering', for example, where your champions have to be on top of each other or split apart from pressure. He has a lot of terms for laning I didn't know had a label.
Me and Piglet played on feeling. If something went bad, then we went over it. However, most of the time, we knew what we wanted to do and didn't talk too much. Cody, on the other hand, tells it how it is.
How did you build that synergy with Cody Sun coming into the Summer Split?
We played a lot together, getting to know our styles, and working things out basically.
What would you say is the biggest challenge from with Cody Sun that you would like to work on as the split goes on?
When lane doesn't go as well, we have a tendency to not shut down but turn the communication down a bit. I think it's more important when we're down to talk more to look for a solution. When you're ahead, you know what you're going to do to snowball. When you're behind, you have to come up with something creative to crawl back into the game. We should just talk more throughout the game.
A lot of teams say that Clutch Gaming is crushing in scrims. How does your success in scrims translate into the LCS stage?
There's this whole thing where you can play scrim champions and team compositions where the enemy team does not have to fight you. They could just wait for their own spikes but then they will cause it's scrims. They don't really care about the outcome of the game. We'll absolutely smash everyone, then we go on stage and see the other team just farming.
Just knowing what champions are effective and what team comps are not going to be effective from scrim to stage, preparing better generally. Last split, we played a lot of comps where we would be able to win in scrims but it wouldn't translate to stage.
For this split, we just have to not focus too hard on picks that are basically scrim champions.
Teams also say that they like to stick to a certain style. How do you guys focus on sticking with the same style from scrim to LCS stage?
I think it's kind of wrong to say that you should have a team style. Depending on what you play, you should play differently. We definitely have comfort champions and we try to stick to those.
We're 4 weeks in and you guys already have one less win than you have all in Spring. What has changed about the execution of the team's ideas that led to success?
For one, our practice is a lot better. The team environment was poor last split. We had problems internally that we fixed before this split. If everyone is mentally checked out, you don't want to talk to that person next to you. Then that person won't talk during review. So if they don't talk during review, what's the point in scrimming since you're not improving on anything? The team environment is a lot better this split, and that's the main difference.
Thanks for the interview and best of luck with the split moving forward. Do you have anything to say to the Clutch Gaming fans?
Thank you for supporting us as usual. I think we'll do a lot better than last split. We're looking to qualify for playoffs. From there, we can beat anyone.
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